Each month we feature inspirational women who've made it to the other side of career change. Learn how they did it and take away usable tips from their career journeys! This month, we're proud to feature Karen Davis
Karen is an ex-beauty PR of 25 years, an author and award winning 40+ beauty blogger. She is the founder of UK based Time of Your Life (TOYL) beauty box subscription for women in midlife. TOYL is about bringing brands to a specific conversation with midlife women, speaking to women in their own right and having real conversations with us.
Read Karen's article below to hear about how she did it!
There’s no question that my midlife was a challenge.
I had waded through the early years of my life pretty easily, but a divorce, remarriage and then two young children definitely meant that I was doing it all, but none of it well. Of course, I didn’t realise that at the time.
I started my career in the fitness industry and soon rose to be the CEO of a chain of health clubs which was all fine until I became pregnant. Back in the day it wasn’t quite so easy to hold onto such roles during pregnancy so I resigned and became freelance, which was about the dumbest thing you can do as a pregnant woman. Starting a business during that time was, well, let’s just say “a challenge”.
However, like many of you, I had the energy during my thirties to drive on. I had another child, worked incredibly long hours and “had it all” as the women’s magazines of the nineties would have us believe. The thing is, I wasn’t doing anything well. I did everything – job, family, me – to about 60% of what it needed because there just wasn’t enough time/money/energy/all of the above to do everything brilliantly.
I wasn’t one of these women who cried at the school gates on the first day of my children starting. I was thrilled to have got them that far without having had any major dramas and thought I was incredibly lucky, which I was. Each of their milestones I applauded until the day my youngest went off to college. We live in the UK but he’s a talented boy so when he won a soccer scholarship to a wonderful USA MidWest College I was thrilled, but I felt physically sick for a month before and after he left.
A few weeks later his elder brother turned to me and said, “Mum, I’m moving out.”
“That’s great! When?”
Bless him, he didn’t know how to tell me as he’d seen how upset I was but he wanted to get on with his life and so didn’t want to leave the move any longer.
After that, I took to my bed for two weeks.
This was a poor response, I admit, but I just felt the weight of everything – the loss, the menopause, the doldrums of a career that was just earning money and not making me remotely happy and the wasted years of just “doing okay”. Low isn’t really a word I would use. It was more “depths of despair”.
Like many of us, I hid this from everyone except my husband, getting through the day with a cheery voice and tone only to burst into tears and take to my bed again at 5.30pm every night. It was horrendous.
My husband saved me. He dragged depressed, cynical, angry me along to an introduction seminar for a course to help your business. At the end we were asked to sign up for the course. “Why not?” I thought, anything was better than the depths I was in.
It changed my life.
I nearly cried all day on the first day of the course due to my vulnerability. I thought I was better than everyone in the room, that I didn’t need to learn anything and that there was nothing that I could learn. I was wrong. It opened my eyes to how I should have continued my education at all times, that without investment into me I was absolutely going to be running on empty and that yes, other people did have something to say about me that could be constructive, kind and helpful to me.
Eight years later I run www.toyl.co.uk (“TOYL” means Time of Your Life) a beauty subscription box for midlife women, packed with products we love but also with a world of information around it on the menopause, dating, career change, beauty treatments and other information that is useful to us.
I took the pain of my experience and set it down on paper because I don’t want any woman following me to turn forty and feel vulnerable. I’m now an Amazon #1 best selling author with my book, The Time of Your Life, and I speak internationally on how my experience can inform midlife women to gear up for the best “time of their lives” to get healthy, to get their career on track and to ensure that they fulfil their dreams and ambitions before they hit older age. No regrets, we don’t have time now for that. I believe that health, having a creative hobby, volunteering and bringing your dreams into reality are essential for midlife health.
I’m not an expert, I’m not a guru on this subject and I don’t pretend to be, I can only talk about what happened to me and how I found a way through. My job is to shine a light on women who are working to help other women in midlife which is why I was blown away by the work of EvolveMe and how they support us midlife women when we are at our most vulnerable, to help make changes that will be amazing for us.
Let me tell you it’s never too late to go after what you want. Be strong, help others, support other midlife women. As Madeline Albright said “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”
Midlife women, know that I (and many others) see you. Reach out and we will be there to help, support and guide you all the way to be the best person, the person you are meant to be.
Karen Davis is an Amazon #1 best selling author, founder of TOYL beauty subscription box for midlife women, a presenter on WellbeingRadio.co.uk and an avid blogger.
Follow her at: Insta: @toyl40 Facebook: @toyl40 Youtube: TOYL www.toyl.co.uk